Ron Turk and Barry Clevely were inducted into the Kapiti Horowhenua Business Hall of Fame at this year's Electra Kapiti Horowhenua Business Awards Gala Dinner in Levin last Friday, bringing the number of business people admitted to the hall to 24.
Both Ron and Barry have made hugely positive contributions to their communities over many decades — one as a significant employer, the other as a visionary property developer — both as successful businessmen and community supporters.
And for the very first time in its history, the Hall of Fame now has an intergenerational representation with a son joining his father as a laureate.
Joining his father (and fellow Hall of Fame Laureate) in the family business in the early 1970s, Ron Turk has spent the last 17 years at the helm.
Born in Wellington in 1956, the middle child of six, Ron Turk moved to Foxton with his family in 1966 where they purchased their first poultry farm, supplying eggs from Paekakariki to Himatangi. As a boy Ron attended Saint Mary's Convent School and then Manawatu College where he became part of the school's first ever soccer team.
The natural progression for Ron was to follow his father, John, into the poultry business and at the age 16 he left school to help on the farm where he learned every aspect of the business through “handson” experience.
Over the first 10 years the business remained relatively small with just John, Ron and one employee, but they still managed to grow the farm from 2000 to 20,000 laying hens.
At the age of 30 Ron decided to improve his business skills, reading a huge number of books on creating successful businesses and undertaking self-directed study at the Institute of Directors, learning finance, leadership and personality profiling.
By the early 1990s the business had grown to 100,000 hens, and the business entered poultry processing, building their first abattoir. Employing more than 150 staff required a change in management structure and a board was formed. A major cultural change within the business lead to a happier and more productive work environment and supported further growth.
Today Turk's has been in business for 52 years and employs 220 people, with 180 of them in Foxton. Through his years of experience, Ron has learned business is all about the people and this has led him to make smarter employment choices.
Barry Clevely is a quintessential Kiwi rooted in his local community.
Born in Kai Iwi Beach, Whanganui, Barry spent his first 14 years in Waipawa before moving to Palmerston North Boys High School to continue his education. He then moved on to the NZ Pharmacy College where his budding drive for excellence became evident as he graduated as top student and winner of the Kodak Prize. The 2018 Electra Business of the Year winners:
Winner: Kenakena School Highly Commended: Woodhaven Gardens Ltd
The Excellence Award winners were: Owner-Operator: Sudbury Small Business: Greenhaven Homes Ltd
Medium Business: Peter Jackson Plumbing
Large Business: Kenakena School The Achievement Award winners were: Emerging Business: Greenhaven Homes Ltd
Employer of Choice: Kenakena School
“Give Where You Live”: Woodhaven Gardens Ltd Health and Safety: Alliance Group Levin Plant
“It’s Great to be Here!”: Alliance Group Levin Plant
New Thinking: Kenakena School The Customer Choice Award winners were:
Retail: Westbury Pharmacy Service: Elise Niu — Functional HIIT NZ
Age Friendly: Westbury Pharmacy
Spending his first three years doing locums at pharmacies around the North Island, he eventually became manager of Porirua Urgent Pharmacy before buying the original Waikanae Pharmacy in 1965.
It was during the 1960s and 1970s that Barry developed a love for property, both as a developer and an academic.
With five others, he formed the Waikanae Property Enterprise undertaking various developments, like Coastal Dunes in Peka Peka, and projects in Rotorua and Nelson. He also enrolled at Massey University to study property.
In 1973 he became the first employee of property development company RDC. In 15 years as CEO he has advised organisations such as NZ Rail, Air NZ and Te Papa, and was appointed development director of the $30m conversion of the former Buckle Street Dominion Museum into Massey University's Wellington Campus — a project that led to the creation of the MC2 Group. This partnership has completed a string of Kapiti/Horowhenua developments including the creation of Horowhenua's first substantial vineyard — Bishops Vineyard, Ohau Village Project — awarded the NZ Institute of Surveyors only national Gold Award of Excellence in 2010.
Ron Turk follows in his father’s footsteps into the business hall of fame.